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England will be back at the scene of their convincing win over West Indies on Wednesday. South Africa haven’t played a T20I at this ground since May 2010, but they arrive fresh from a decent enough downing of the United States. The stage for their men’s T20 World Cup clash in Gros Islet on Friday couldn’t be better set.

The South Africans are unbeaten after five games while England have lost to Australia and would have been hard-pressed to chase 109 in 10 overs to win their washed out match against Scotland. But the English will be considered favourites on Friday.

Their success against the Windies, by eight wickets with 15 balls to spare, was a statement of intent powered by a 44-ball unbroken stand of 97 shared by Phil Salt and Jonny Bairstow. The South Africans’ win over the Americans, by 18 runs, in North Sound on Wednesday wasn’t as impressive. But it did mark Quinton de Kock’s return to form by way of his 74 off 40, which inspired a partnership off 110 off 60 with Aiden Markram – South Africa’s first century stand in 19 T20Is.

Throw in the fact that England have a better and far fresher idea of conditions at the Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, and it isn’t difficult to see why they might be the more bullish side on Friday. But not by much: South Africa have broken the shackles put on them by the pitches in their first four games in the tournament, in Nassau County and Arnos Vale, and will be difficult to becalm now that that has happened.

Both teams have quality attacks, but this match is shaping up as a buffet of barrelling, burgeoning, just plain big batting. That’s as much a comment on the likely conditions as it is on the players involved. Put those two factors together at the same time in the same place, and take cover.

When:Β England vs South Africa, June 21, 2.30PM GMT, 10.30AM Local, 4.30PM SAST, 8PM IST

Where:Β Darren Sammy National Cricket stadium, Gros Islet, St Lucia

What to expect:Β No rain, but plenty of heat and humidity. And runs: half the top 10 totals in the tournament have been scored in St Lucia.

Head to head in T20 World Cups:Β England 2-4 South Africa

Team Watch:

England

Jos Buttler’s team are in the throes of an unemphatic but also an efficient defence of the title they won in Australia in 2022.

Tactics & Matchups:Β Phil Salt and Jonny Bairstow are key to the firing of a potent batting line-up.

Probable XI:Β Phil Salt, Jos Buttler (c&wk), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Reece Topley

South Africa

Now that they’ve shown what they can do on what Quinton de Kock called a “decent pitch finally” in Antigua on Wednesday, the batting unit needs to kick on.

Tactics & Matchups:Β Ottneil Baartman should return, which would mean only one specialist spinner.

Probable XI:Β Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram (c), Tristan Stubbs, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Ottneil Baartman

Did you know?

– Phil Salt is the only batter in either squad who is among the tournament’s top 10 runscorers.

– Similarly, Anrich Nortje is the sole representative in the top 10 wicket-takers.

– England have won all four T20Is they have played in St Lucia and South Africa have lost both of theirs.

What they said:

“It’s been a really topsy-turvy start. It didn’t really feel like we played much cricket up to this point. But, in tournament cricket, you need a bit of confidence and momentum at the right time and you need it to keep building. So to get a win against the hosts gives us the first push in that direction.” –Β Phil SaltΒ suggests England are cleared for take-off after their win over West Indies on Wednesday.

“There’s no point thinking about it. If you don’t have the belief you might as well pack your bags and go home. Whatever happens happens, but the belief is there.” –Β Kagiso RabadaΒ declines to discuss South Africa’s unhappy record in tournaments.

Squads:

England Squad: Philip Salt, Jos Buttler(w/c), Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook, Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Reece Topley, Ben Duckett, Will Jacks, Chris Jordan, Tom Hartley

South Africa Squad: Quinton de Kock(w), Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram(c), David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Tristan Stubbs, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi, Ryan Rickelton, Ottneil Baartman, Bjorn Fortuin, Gerald Coetzee

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